A timeline of Trump’s actions during the Hawaii false alarm
As people of Hawaii catch their breath following the jarring missile alert mishap over the weekend, scrutiny has reached the White House and how it grappled with the mistaken alarm.
A message went out to the people of Hawaii on Saturday, telling them to seek shelter due to an incoming ballistic missile threat. State leaders and emergency officials said after that the alert was a false alarm, with the state’s governor saying it was because an employee “pushed the wrong button.”
President Donald Trump was quiet about the incident in its wake, and on Sunday night he said he was glad Hawaiian officials had taken responsibility for the massive failure of the statewide system.
The following timeline of events related to the false missile warning in Hawaii reflects the President’s whereabouts during the key time frame.
Saturday, January 13
9:26 a.m. ET — Trump arrives at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.
12:35 p.m. ET — CNN cameras spot Trump between the 14th and 15th holes.
1:07 p.m. ET — Warnings of an incoming ballistic missile begin flashing on cellphones in Hawaii, leading to panic among some residents and visitors. The alert was triggered after an error at the emergency management administration.
1:10 p.m. ET — Hawaii State Adjutant Maj. Gen. Joe Logan confirms with US Pacific Command there is no missile headed for Hawaii, and the Honolulu Police Department is notified it was a false alarm.
About 1:10 p.m. ET — Trump has lunch inside the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club. Members inside the building spot him.
Time unknown — Deputy National Security Adviser Ricky Waddell, who was the top national security official traveling with Trump in Florida, briefs Trump in person on the false alarm alerts.
1:13 p.m. ET — The White House tells reporters in West Palm Beach that Trump has spent the morning playing golf.
1:13 p.m. ET — Hawaii’s State Warning Point issues a cancellation of the Civil Danger Warning Message, thereby preventing the initial alert from being rebroadcast to phones that may not have received it yet — for instance, if a phone was not on at 1:07 p.m. ET, if someone was out of range and has since come into cell coverage (hikers and mariners, for example) and/or people getting off planes.
1:20 p.m. ET — The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweets and posts to Facebook that there is “NO missile threat to Hawaii.”
1:23 p.m. ET — A White House official says they are aware of the alerts and clarification, but can’t say whether Trump has been briefed on them.
1:24 p.m. ET — Officials from Hawaii, including Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, tweet out that the alert was a false alarm. Hawaii Gov. David Ige retweets Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s cancellation notice.
1:30 pm ET — Ige posts cancellation notification to his Facebook page.
1:38 p.m. ET — Trump departs his golf course.
1:39 p.m. ET — A White House spokesman refers to the Pentagon for comment on the false alarm alerts.
1:45 p.m. ET — Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency issues “false alarm” messages broadcast over radio and TV, as well as cellphones. Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency says it got authorization from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. (FEMA later tells CNN that Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency has had the authority since 2012 to issue retractions or cancellations of alerts it has issued and does not require FEMA approval.)
1:49 p.m. ET — Trump arrives back at Mar-a-Lago.
Time unknown — Trump speaks with national security adviser H.R. McMaster and White House chief of staff John Kelly by secure phone line from Mar-a-Lago. Neither McMaster nor Kelly was traveling in Florida with Trump. Trump asks McMaster to oversee federal response to the situation.
2:34 p.m. ET — The White House releases a statement that says Trump met with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer “and received an in-depth update on trade with China and their economy.”
2:44 p.m. ET — The White House releases a statement saying Trump “has been briefed on the state of Hawaii’s emergency management exercise. This was purely a state exercise.”
3:02 p.m. ET — The White House clarifies the alert was a state-controlled exercise, not a practice run or otherwise planned event.
5:08 p.m. ET — In his first statement after the false alarm, Trump tweets: “So much Fake News is being reported. They don’t even try to get it right, or correct it when they are wrong. They promote the Fake Book of a mentally deranged author, who knowingly writes false information. The Mainstream Media is crazed that WE won the election!”
Evening — President Trump has dinner with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani at Mar-a-Lago, a person who was there said. They both pause during the meal as a singer performed “God Bless America.” Giuliani is walking with a cane.
Sunday, January 14
7:20 p.m. ET — Trump makes his first comments about the false alarm alerts as he walks to dinner with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at his West Palm golf club: “Well, that was a state thing. But we’re going to now get involved with them. I love that they took responsibility. They took total responsibility. But we’re going to get involved. Their attitude and their — what they want to do, I think it’s terrific. They took responsibility. They made a mistake.”
Asked whether he would make sure it won’t happen again, Trump said: “Well, we hope it won’t happen again. But part of it is that people are on edge, but maybe, eventually, we’ll solve the problem so they won’t have to be so on edge.”
CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to more accurately describe people in Hawaii and not just those of Hawaiian ancestry.